- ORDER: Cuculiformes
- FAMILY: Cuculidae
A loose-limbed, disheveled-looking bird of tropical dry country, the Groove-billed Ani is always entertaining. These all-black cuckoos have curiously tall, flattened bills marked with narrow grooves, which they use to catch large insects and small lizards. They are amusing to watch as they clamber and flop through bushes and thorny scrub, but these exaggerated movements have a purpose: they help flush prey from their hiding places. Like other ani species, Groove-billed Anis live in groups, maintain a collective territory, and keep their eggs in a single nest.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Groove-billed Anis are common in dry tropical lowlands and may also be found in South Texas. Look for them in open, shrubby, thorny, or brushy habitat, or around cows or army ants. They travel in groups and are surprisingly good at remaining hidden—so if you see one emerge from a dense shrub, keep watching for more. Early in the morning they often perch in low shrubby vegetation to catch the rays of sun. Listen also for their incisive, squeal-like tsweeuw call.
- Garrapatero asurcado (Spanish)
- Ani à bec cannelé (French)
- Cool Facts
- With their all-black plumage and giant bills, anis look very little like their relatives in the cuckoo family. But they share the “zygodactylous” arrangement of their toes: two set forward and two back. Parrots and woodpeckers also have this toe arrangement.
- The Groove-billed Ani has a long tail that it twitches and flips around frequently, possibly helping the bird startle insect prey into flushing.
- Like other anis, the Groove-billed Ani lives in small groups of 1–5 breeding pairs. They defend a single territory and lay their eggs in one communal nest. All group members incubate the eggs and care for the young.